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Research and Innovations

NC State Veterinary Medicine Research Roundup, March 2022

A look at some of the latest published studies from the CVM.

Microscopic close-up of the covid-19 disease. Blue and Red Coronavirus illness spreading in body cell. 2019-nCoV analysis on microscope level 3D rendering

Determining the best treatment for dogs that have ingested bones

Five NC State researchers – Nanelle R. Barash, Erin Lashnits, Zachary T. Kern, Mary Katherine Tolbert and Katharine F. Lunn – evaluated the best way to manage cases involving bone foreign bodies in the esophaguses and stomachs of dogs. They studied the cases of 45 dogs with bone foreign bodies in the esophagus and 84 with bones in the gastric system. The study found that all esophageal foreign bodies were removed by advancement into the stomach, endoscopic procedure or surgery but that the majority of gastric bone foreign bodies were left in place for dissolution with no complications. These findings have implications for future treatment choices.

The study was published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Read it here: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvim.16383

Identifying COVID-19 risks, vaccine benefits based on location

Global health and epidemiology are two focus areas at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. Eight interdisciplinary researchers, including Cristina Lanzas of the CVM and NC State’s Comparative Medicine Institute, produced this study, which looked at disparities by ZIP code and identified predictors of COVID-19 hospitalization risks. The study, conducted in the St. Louis area, concluded that there is evidence of geographic disparities in COVID-19 hospitalization risks that are driven by differences in socioeconomic, demographic and health-related factors. These findings will help public health planners identify geographic areas likely to have high numbers of individuals needing hospitalization as well as guide vaccination efforts.

This study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.

Read it here: bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-022-12716-w

Investigating plasma cell-free DNA as a potential biomarker in horses

Cell-free DNA (or cfDNA) refers to all nonencapsulated DNA in the bloodstream. cfDNA are nucleic acid fragments that enter the bloodstream during natural cell death or cell death resulting from disease or injury. 

Plasma cell-free DNA is a biomarker of ischemia, systemic inflammation and mortality in humans with gastrointestinal disease. College of Veterinary Medicine authors Rosemary L. Bayless, Bethanie L. Cooper and M. Katie Sheats wanted to see whether cell-free DNA could be a biomarker for equine colic. This study tested the concept that cfDNA could be measured accurately in neat equine plasma and that plasma cfDNA would be elevated in emergency patients compared with healthy horses. Study results with extracted-plasma samples provide proof of concept for further investigation of plasma cfDNA as a biomarker in horses.

The study was published in The Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation.

Read it here: journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/10406387221078047

Updating AAHA pain management guidelines for dogs and cats

The 2022 guidelines present a practical and logical approach to assessing and managing acute and chronic pain in canine and feline patients. Margaret Gruen and Duncan Lascelles of the CVM headed a team of experts in updating the recognized professional consensus that emphasizes proactive, preemptive pain management rather than a reactive, “damage control” approach. 

The guidelines were published in The Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Read about the new guidelines here: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35195712/

Describing clinical signs, MRI findings and outcomes for dogs with certain herniated discs

The aims of this retrospective study were to describe the clinical presentation, MRI findings and long-term outcomes after medical or surgical treatment of dogs presenting with foraminal and far lateral thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniations. These descriptions have seldom been described in the veterinary literature. Thirty-seven dogs were included. Dachshunds and mixed breeds were most affected. The study focused on seven referral hospitals involving cases occurring between 2009 and 2020. A good to excellent outcome was seen in 95% of surgically and 90% of medically treated dogs. The international research team included Natasha Olby of the CVM.

The study was published in the journal Vet Record of the British Veterinary Association.

Read it here: bvajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/vetr.1529

Discovering a pharmacological stress test for cats with a common cardiac disease

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common cardiac disease in cats, affecting approximately 15% of the general cat population. This study looked at using ambulatory electrocardiography (AECG) to evaluate cats with subclinical HCM for arrhythmias and heart rate variability (HRV) to provide information regarding risk level assessment. The study used 23 Maine Coon cats – 16 with HCM and seven healthy cats as a control – to evaluate whether AECG is effective in determining risk levels in subclinical cats and whether the administration of oral terbutaline is an effective cardiac stress test. The study team included Yu Ueda of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Read it here: www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-05999-x

Bayless One of Two Recipients of Career Development Award

CVM Ph.D. candidate Rosemary Bayless is one of two recipients this year of a $20,000 Storm Cat Career Development Award, which is given to provide support for those considering careers in equine research. Bayless recently concluded a residency at the NC State Veterinary Hospital. Her career goal is to improve outcomes for equine patients through research, teaching and clinical practice as a veterinary clinician scientist. The award is underwritten annually by Lucy Young Hamilton, a Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation board member. The award is named for Storm Cat, a retired champion stallion from her family’s Overbrook Farm.